If you’re the victim of fraud, it can be a costly and time consuming problem to fix, so purchasing identity theft protection is worth considering. Prices range from $7.20 to $34.99 per month, but the peace of mind can be worth the expense.
CNBC Select reviewed over a dozen identity theft protection services and found that LifeLock is the best for computer and device protection.
LifeLock is part of Norton Security so if you are also in the market for internet security packages, you can combine the two. Pricing for packages that include internet security vary depending on how much coverage you’re looking for and how many devices or individuals you want to include.
CNBC Select evaluated LifeLock looking at cost, insurance coverage, how many credit bureaus are monitored, dark web scanning and fraud alerts. (Read more about our methodology below.)
On LifeLock’s secure site
$8.99 to $34.99 per month
Identity theft insurance
Up to $1 million for lawyers and experts; up to $25,000 to $1 million each for stolen funds reimbursement and personal expense compensation
The Ultimate Plus plan monitors your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports; The Standard and Advantage plans monitor Equifax or TransUnion.
LifeLock offers three plans: Standard, Advantage and Ultimate Plus. Pricing for individuals is as follows:
- Standard: $8.99 per month for the first year, then $11.99 each month
- Advantage: $17.99 per month for the first year, then $22.99 each month
- Ultimate Plus: $25.99 per month for the first year, then $34.99 each month
There are no special rates for family plans but at checkout you can sign up for more than one plan. You can also enroll in LifeLock Junior for children for $5.39 per month per child for the first year, then $5.99 each month.
Stolen wallet protection, USPS address change verification and ID verification monitoring are included in all the plans.
The Ultimate Plus plan offers the most coverage including the following, which are not included in the Standard and Advantage plans:
- Checking and savings account application alerts
- 401(k) and investment account activity alerts
- Bank account takeover alerts
- File-sharing network searches (LifeLock monitors music, photo and data applications for your name, social security number, date of birth or contact information)
- Sex offender registry reports
All three plans offer identity theft insurance, with the Standard plan offering the least coverage and the Ultimate Plus plan offering the most coverage. All plans offer coverage to cover the cost of lawyers and experts of up to $1 million should you need their help.
The Standard plan provides stolen funds reimbursement of up to $25,000 and personal expense compensation of up to $25,000. The Advantage plan offers coverage up to $100,000 for each, and the Ultimate Plus plan offers coverage up to $1 million for each.
The Standard and Advantage plans only monitor one credit bureau (Equifax or TransUnion), while the Ultimate Plus plan monitors three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).
The Standard plan does not give you an annual credit report, the Advantage plan provides an annual credit report and score from one bureau and the Ultimate Plus offers an annual credit report and score from three bureaus.
All three plans provide dark web monitoring, privacy monitoring and identity and social security alerts.
The Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans also offer alerts on crimes committed in your name.
The Standard plan lacks some alerts including bank account alerts and credit card activity.
With three different identity theft protection packages and the option to add-on Norton’s device security, LifeLock offers plans suitable for families with many devices and young children.
If you are looking for a plan with stronger credit monitoring, Experian IdentityWorks℠ was chosen by CNBC Select as the best credit monitoring service for families. And if top-notch identity theft insurance is what you need, Identity Guard offers three plans with $1 million in identity theft insurance starting at $8.99 per month.
To determine which identity theft protection services offer the most benefits to consumers, CNBC Select analyzed and compared over a dozen services that offer a variety of plans.
When ranking the best identity theft protection services, we focused on the following features:
- Cost: Typically, these services bill monthly but some have deals where you can pay annually.
- Identity theft insurance: We considered whether the services offered identity theft insurance and looked at the amount you’re covered up to. We found that the best services offer up to $1 million for eligible expenses associated with resolving and restoring your identity.
- Wide variety of identity monitoring: The more platforms the service checks for breaches to your personal information, the better.
- Credit monitoring: We ranked services that monitor your credit reports higher than those they don’t. The best plans offer triple-bureau monitoring.
- Family plans: If you can enroll your family members, that’s an added plus.
- Mobile app: The ability to access services from a smartphone was crucial.
Keep in mind that identity theft protection services can only alert you of breaches to your personal information, not prevent any fraud.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.